Szombathely Finals Day 1

So, the live blog didn’t go as planned this morning, and I blame the Olympic Channel’s website, mostly because it was the Olympic Channel’s website’s fault. They’re having trouble with the authentication from the cable provider and keep spitting most of us back to the authentication page even after we authenticate.

To the competition itself, most of the coaches seemed to have a bit of a White House understanding of the mask-wearing guidelines published by the FIG, so if this turns out to be a superspreading event, I have 38 culprits in mind.

Women’s Vault

The women’s vault competition proved a triumphant return for Boglarka Devai, who cemented her first-place performance from qualification by doing exactly the same in the final, hitting a DTY with just a bit of soup-legs on landing to provoke a lunge and following that up with a Lopez that showed nice initial flare before piking down to find the landing.

It was not a waltz for Devai, however, as she was nearly caught by Anastasia Motak, competing in the final position. Motak brought the stronger DTY to the duel, but ultimately lost out to Devai on second-vault difficulty, performing a Podkopayeva to Devai’s Lopez. The difference in difficulty between those two vaults accounted for the entire margin of victory.

There was a very “only nerds post their vault numbers” attitude through the middle of this final, and I wonder if the coaches had just not bothered to post the Podkopayeva for Motak, whether she might have received Lopez credit. I mean, it was definitely piked, but when has that ever stopped anyone. It didn’t stop Angelina Radivilova, who posted nothing and got credit for the Lopez.

Hitting that Lopekopayeva was enough to earn bronze for Radivilova, putting her ahead of the better-executed but less difficult vaults from Jasmin Mader in fourth place. Outside of the top couple spots, this was mostly a Yurchenko full-a-thon that was…fine. I mean, they were fulls. We did get to see a round-off full-on back pike from Lisa Zimmerman, though.

Uneven Bars

The bars final hinged pretty much entirely on whether Diana Varinska was going to hit her Tkatchev 1/2 to Jaeger combination. Once she did that, it was smooth sailing to victory by more than half a point over the next-closest contender. Varinska did not perform everything she’s capable of, nor was it one of her cleanest showings, but she needed neither of those things.

Also impressing were the German duo of Zimmerman and Lara Marie Hinsberger, both of whom had fallen in qualification but recovered to hit strong routines in the final. Hinsberger in particular did not have the difficulty but showed tremendous ability and potential in her form, her handstands, her legs-together positions. It was a very pleasant routine for a warranted silver medal.

Also performing quite cleanly was Elina Vihrova up early in the final, but because her difficulty score was so low, she ended up coming in just behind Zimmerman in fourth place.

Sadly, a fall on her Church sent Zoja Szekely down to 6th place, though the show-stealer in the mistake department was Marta Pihan-Kulesza, who had one of those days on bars, and when resuming after her fall, she took a very “dismounts are for dumps” approach to the whole thing and treated us to this glory:

What a star.

Men’s Floor

The title on men’s floor belonged to Rok Klavora, whom I proudly announced yesterday NEVER had the difficulty to win. Thankfully, his princely form, stuck landings, and actual legs together on his double Arabian won out despite having the second-lowest difficulty of the finals field.

It was as close as close could be, however, as Klavora had to win the execution tiebreak against Ilyas Azizov to claim his gold. Azizov showed an almost entirely excellent routine, particularly his remarkable stuck full-in, but a short landing on his front 2/1 with a lunge back spoiled things and kept him from first place.

In bronze position we had Petro Pakhniuk, whose Fred Mertz mohawk of a hairstyle has managed to become only more preposterous during the shutdown. It’s like his occipital lobe got extensions and didn’t tell the rest of his head. Pakhniuk had a few hoppy landings that kept him a whisker back from the top two athletes, but he stayed just ahead of his teammate Yevgen Yudenkov, who had more control on landings but weaker form and less difficulty. Alexander Benda in fifth also managed a clean routine with among the most secure landings in the final, but with his lower difficulty, he would have had to be Klavora-clean to medal, and he wasn’t quite there.

Top qualifier Milad Karimi went up last and had the competition in his hands given his superior difficulty, but he had one of those days where he hopped to Mars on every single landing and ended up with a 12.350.

Pommel Horse

Wonder of wonders, Nariman Kurbanov, Robert Seligman, Matvei Petrov, and Filip Ude all hit in the same final. Don’t they know this isn’t what we show up for? Hits? What’s that about.

Kurbanov proved a worthy victor, showing off his wonderful flat position throughout one of the most difficult sets in the final. Seligman and Ude also both performed among the most composed PH-final routines I’ve seen from either in quite a while, Seligman’s earning himself a silver but Ude’s coming up just short of the medal stand as he ended up a half tenth behind the epic difficulty of Matvei Petrov. Petrov isn’t winning any form contests but his 6.5 D also successfully pushes back against any “I can’t do pommel horse because my man-muscle has too much man-muscle” that might be coming from various quarters.

Always performing public services, Petro Pakhiuk did pour one out for those who are just into pommel horse for the falls, skidding out mid routine and finishing in 6th.

Rings

I said in qualification that this final would come down to whether Igor Radivilov died on his dismount or not. Turns out, he did die. And yet he still almost won. Several large lunges on landing ultimately took the gold medal away from him, but he did hold on for silver, just ahead of Yudenkov’s bronze performance that featured much more control on his own dismount.

Sadly for Radivilov’s title hopes, there was another ringer in this final, Austria’s “casino owner from a cartoon” Vinzenz Hoeck. He is close enough to Radivilov on difficulty that he ended up just needing to die a little bit less than Igor in order to win, a feat he accomplished admirably.

Other people ringsed, and it was ringsy.

The warmup also featured this cool ode to Chris Brooks

Possible actual live blog coming for day 2 of finals. We’ll see if everyone cooperates this time.

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